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Don Keough—a former top executive at Coca-Cola and now chairman of the elite investment banking firm Allen & Company—has witnessed plenty of failures in his sixty-year career (including New Coke). He has also been friends with some of the most successful people in business history, including Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Jack Welch, Rupert Murdoch, and Peter Drucker. Now thi Don Keough—a former top executive at Coca-Cola and now chairman of the elite investment banking firm Allen & Company—has witnessed plenty of failures in his sixty-year career (including New Coke). He has also been friends with some of the most successful people in business history, including Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Jack Welch, Rupert Murdoch, and Peter Drucker. Now this elder statesman reveals how great enterprises get into trouble. Even the smartest executives can fall into the trap of believing in their own infallibility. When that happens, more bad decisions are sure to follow. This light-hearted “how-not-to” book includes anecdotes from Keough’s long career as well as other infamous failures. His commandments for failure include: Quit Taking Risks; Be Inflexible; Assume Infallibility; Put All Your Faith in Experts; Send Mixed Messages; and Be Afraid of the Future. As he writes, “After a lifetime in business I’ve never been able to develop a step-by-step formula that will guarantee success. What I could do, however, was talk about how to lose. I guarantee that anyone who follows my formula will be a highly successful loser.”


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Don Keough—a former top executive at Coca-Cola and now chairman of the elite investment banking firm Allen & Company—has witnessed plenty of failures in his sixty-year career (including New Coke). He has also been friends with some of the most successful people in business history, including Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Jack Welch, Rupert Murdoch, and Peter Drucker. Now thi Don Keough—a former top executive at Coca-Cola and now chairman of the elite investment banking firm Allen & Company—has witnessed plenty of failures in his sixty-year career (including New Coke). He has also been friends with some of the most successful people in business history, including Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Jack Welch, Rupert Murdoch, and Peter Drucker. Now this elder statesman reveals how great enterprises get into trouble. Even the smartest executives can fall into the trap of believing in their own infallibility. When that happens, more bad decisions are sure to follow. This light-hearted “how-not-to” book includes anecdotes from Keough’s long career as well as other infamous failures. His commandments for failure include: Quit Taking Risks; Be Inflexible; Assume Infallibility; Put All Your Faith in Experts; Send Mixed Messages; and Be Afraid of the Future. As he writes, “After a lifetime in business I’ve never been able to develop a step-by-step formula that will guarantee success. What I could do, however, was talk about how to lose. I guarantee that anyone who follows my formula will be a highly successful loser.”

30 review for The Ten Commandments for Business Failure

  1. 5 out of 5

    Michael Payne

    There are countless business books on how to succeed. There are virtually none on how to fail. This book has timeless advice. If you want to fail, or if you truly don't: Start here.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Prince Ebenezer

    Warren Buffet, Don Keough, and Charlie Munger are the three giants and knowledge houses who’ve established great businesses, so much that it’s a status quo to be called you are from Omaha. He talks about how the book got it’s name. It so happens that when Warren Buffet was invited to deliver a speech on How to win - he believed that it wasn’t something he could really talk about as it’s a highly uncertain topic to talk about, he decided to talk about how to fail, which was aired in the TV then a Warren Buffet, Don Keough, and Charlie Munger are the three giants and knowledge houses who’ve established great businesses, so much that it’s a status quo to be called you are from Omaha. He talks about how the book got it’s name. It so happens that when Warren Buffet was invited to deliver a speech on How to win - he believed that it wasn’t something he could really talk about as it’s a highly uncertain topic to talk about, he decided to talk about how to fail, which was aired in the TV then and then evolved to this book 10 commandments for business failure. He talks about his humble beginnings where he worked different jobs in different places and when he moved on to Coca-Cola - he believes it was a great businesses that touched and impacted so many different people all around the globe in every nook and corner where the name is very well known. the Ten Commandments to failure has been devised by him and if you follow one or more of these commandments - you are not only going down, but are also taking your company with you. This is not a breakthrough mantra but just common sense. 1. QUIT TAKING RISKS - he that is over cautious will accomplish very little. He traces back the history of human kind that settled down for mediocrity with so many reasons that were fair enough, however with no risk comes nothing new in life. He traces back to his origin and how his forefathers did eventually take risk and fared really well. He talks about how coco-cola’s multi-million dollar risk benefitted in surging sales and the creation of a cheerful fat Santa. He discusses in detail how Xerox 914 is a piece of monumental history and the very name Xerox become a household name in the place of photocopying as a verb. He says Xerox failed because it stopped taking risks when computer was launched and Xerox with a five year headstart over it’s future competitors, failed to take risks which is one of the major diseases of success. The other two are complacency and arrogance. Xerox, finally in the 2000’s was blamed of credit fraud in all levels, and is now reinventing itself with it’s new management. Short-term innovations are often necessary for Long term winning, even if there are any failures, it’s really important to stay in business. Sometimes the failures give way to new ideas and unexpected wins. If you have a product that is winning, you simply can’t bank on it, but have to constantly think about opportunities that evolve. 
 2. BE INFLEXIBLE - he talks how coca-cola met a crisis and would have caused a corporate suicide. The time when Pepsi created an amazing jingle to sell a two ounce bottle for 2 nickels became a huge hit, coca-cola had entered into a contract with bottlers from round the world to bottle the concoction. The bottle was a trademark symbol which connected with people in the way it looked, felt and was perceived, but when Pepsi sales soared, bottlers in Coca-Cola didn’t like the corporate fooling around them with the contract. You can’t be inflexible when the conditions around you is changing. You will surely fail if you don’t change when circumstances around you change. He talks about Digital equipment corporation - a company with 100,000 employees - a pioneer in so many ways - search engines, internal emails, mp3, etc. they weren’t adapting to the change and were inflexible. henry Ford wanted to change the perspective af a motor car from simply being a plaything for the rich to also serve as a transportation for the masses. He kept redoing the profit per car to increase the sales volume. When an average pay was lesser, he paid more than double. Pro-sumers. He got his own workers to buy and use his product with the raise in money he was so inflexible but failed eventually. He wasn’t okay with changing colours, but the modelty was going to be only black color. He, however changed but created a competitive edge by Chevrolet and Toyota. The major studios wasn’t flexible and prevented growth. Flexibility / adaption is the key idea about Darwin’s theory of survival of the fittest. 
 3. ISOLATE YOURSELF: if you are trying to create a Taj Mahal for yourselves and try to isolate yourselves from your company, and people who work for you, you are isolating yourselves, some people are too cool to know the names of those who work for you. Being isolated alienates, created rumours, and even causes revolts. Some bosses from round the world often tend to create an isolated environment for themselves with a bunker mentally and look at things from their desk, some want to hear only good news. Some even hire people to nod their heads to everything he’d say. You may be a CEO at office, but you have to have the mind to take your own garbage at home. You always have to surround yourselves with people who challenge your idea and let you think beyond your limitations. Don’t hire dim bulbs to appear bright. Some of the associates he hired to work with him often walked up and said what they thought and he often listened to them.
 4. ASSUME INFALLIBILITY: A good name is rather to be chosen than riches. When children started to fall sick because of Coke, when the beer company cut down on it’s ingredients and then the consumers were angry. General Motors - incalculable loss of public goodwill. When he went to East Germany to buy several plants after his initial reluctance, then accepted that the plant caused amazing turnarounds. The source of information is from your own team. Pose as an infallible leader if you want to fail.
 5. PLAY THE GAME CLOSE TO THE FOUL LINE: trust is important. Consumers trust that the brand will deliver what is says it would, likewise everyone banks on trust - investors, management & employees. The corruption in Kmart leading to its fall- The court calling it - played close to the line, and crossed it. The obsession with celebrities has always been there. Doing things right and doing the right thing. You can never pass enough laws to make men ethical. there should be an absolutely necessity of doing the right thing. It’s ethics. 
 6. DON’T TAKE TIME TO THINK: taking time to think really matters. Less is more. If you want to fail, don’t take time to think. If you want success, take lots of time to think. Thinking is the best investment you can ever make. Success is not about moving faster, but fair is. The example of Intuit - think smart & act fast. Gandhi mentioned - there’s more to life than increasing it’s speed. Data unprocessed can mask reality. The uncertainty principle is a great example. The things we think we don’t know aren’t the problem. The things we think we know usually get us into trouble - Mark Twain. Confrontation trap - they want to see what they’d like to see. Don’t fail to ask obvious questions. Don’t fool yourselves with your measure of quality and own standards. Stop measuring wrong variables, and don’t have the wrong people doing it. The example of Coca Cola 6 ounce bottles and Pepsi 12 ounce bottles. It’s plain foolish and dangerous. It’s not a luxury, it’s a necessity. Once the ball is rolling, it’s difficult to stop. 
 7. PUT ALL YOUR FAITH IN EXPERTS AND OUTSIDE CONSULTANTS: the brand is defined by what each person (consumer) feels about it. The example of the come back of Coca-Cola Classic was a clear indication of what your customers think than the market research professionals. The expertise of so many experts has been proved wrong, as opposed to popular opinion. Statistical figures are sometimes validated by external experts, and have been consisting. 
 8. LOVE YOUR BUREAUCRACY: sometimes the rules and routines become more important and end up as an obstacle. They keep you busy, but no productive progress has been made. You don’t need to have five levels of approval, but just streamline your process. Some times there can be major choke points, and internal impediments, that becomes a personal battle. Your success is my failure. bureaucracy impedes performance and creates tension. The greater the number of cooks, the greater the bureaucracy and confusion.
 9. SEND MIXED MESSAGES: the problem with communication is the illusion that it’s been accomplished. Sometimes the communication is misleading and sends mixed messages. 
 10. BE AFRAID OF THE FUTURE: the ability gives you responsibility to demonstrate your faith in the future. One optimist in a sea of pessimist can make a difference. Sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch - the ability to sense the mood - a great habit that most successful people have it. 

 11. ADDED BONUS - LOSE YOUR PASSION FOR WORK FOR LIFE: there should be a genuine passion for something, and be a little crazy about it. Without a brand, it’s just a commodity. A brand is magic, and will thrive in the hands of those you want it. Make an emotional connection with your people.


  3. 5 out of 5

    Nazrul Buang

    Just finished reading "The Ten Commandments for Business Failure" (2008) by Donald R. Keough. To be honest, I only bought this book as a wild card for my second Amazon book purchases, and I wasn't really hoping for a lot from it. It turned out to be a dark horse of a business book. What caught my attention about Keough's book is that it goes against the common patterns of most business books. While most business books would be about ways to succeed (and being very adamant about the ways), Keough Just finished reading "The Ten Commandments for Business Failure" (2008) by Donald R. Keough. To be honest, I only bought this book as a wild card for my second Amazon book purchases, and I wasn't really hoping for a lot from it. It turned out to be a dark horse of a business book. What caught my attention about Keough's book is that it goes against the common patterns of most business books. While most business books would be about ways to succeed (and being very adamant about the ways), Keough belongs to the same school of business thought such as Phil Rosenzweig and Warren Buffett. He admits to not know the formula to success but insteads offers the recipe of success. Like how Rozenzweig took on the unfamiliar path of dispelling most business books, Keough does it by announcing what most business books don't do: tell people what NOT to do for business. The Ten Commandments are very simple, but Keough's wealth in sharing his knowledge proves invaluable. From sharing Drucker's philosophies to even pointing out the common psychological tendencies in business, his no-nonsense classic approach is one that stands firm in an industry where people to churn out new fancy terms for practices that never seem to guarantee success. As an added bonus, he also offers an optimistic eleventh commandment not just for business people but basically to anyone who reads the book. Lastly, as a huge favour, he theoretically applies his commandments to the 2008 financial crisis and understands that somebody out there is certainly committing one of his commandments right now, which he wishes would not bear heavy consequences. NEXT BOOK: "Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions" (2008) by Dan Ariely.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lokesh Joshi

    I had a startup, I managed that for 5 years before getting acquired. This book is really good !

  5. 4 out of 5

    D Aaron

    Arguably one of the best books I've ever read! A Cult Classic! I haven't read a business book in a very long time. This book was recommended to me by an old friend years ago. I absolutely love the book and enjoy what it stands for. I've learned so much from these business principles and I will carry them with me for the rest of my life. This book has touched me deeply and I am grateful to have benefited. It's a wake up call for executives and anyone with a responsibility of shaping and executing Arguably one of the best books I've ever read! A Cult Classic! I haven't read a business book in a very long time. This book was recommended to me by an old friend years ago. I absolutely love the book and enjoy what it stands for. I've learned so much from these business principles and I will carry them with me for the rest of my life. This book has touched me deeply and I am grateful to have benefited. It's a wake up call for executives and anyone with a responsibility of shaping and executing a spirit of Excellence in corporate culture. This is one of those books that's a cult classic. I was a Business major in College and I wished they gave us a copy of this. This should be required reading for every entrepreneur and aspiring business person. Knowing these commandments and avoiding the disaster of repeating the mistakes is invaluable for success. This is a must read. So grateful I invested my time in this treasure.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sy. C

    This is a nice, short book - it won't teach you how to market your product, raise capital, or the other "skills" covered in typical business books, but it will give you some sense of the temperament required to lead and build a business. Keough peppers the book with lively examples both from Coca-Cola and other businesses. He ends with the important, even though obvious, reminder that loss of optimism and passion are a certain recipe for failure, and that the term "American Dream" was actually c This is a nice, short book - it won't teach you how to market your product, raise capital, or the other "skills" covered in typical business books, but it will give you some sense of the temperament required to lead and build a business. Keough peppers the book with lively examples both from Coca-Cola and other businesses. He ends with the important, even though obvious, reminder that loss of optimism and passion are a certain recipe for failure, and that the term "American Dream" was actually coined in the depths of the Great Depression. It's a nice book to keep on the shelf and gift others. Keough keeps the book squeaky clean and doesn't go into some of the activities necessary for any large business, which are covered in depth either in Pendergrast's or Allen's company histories of Coca-Cola.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Deepak Shah

    Business leaders turned writers tend to take a more politically correct tone instead of presenting uncomfortable truths. So, I did expect some of it from a former president of Coca-Cola. But, here's where the problem lies: excessive optimism is no solution to pessimism. There lies a fine balance, but perhaps, with good intentions, Don wanted to make it look simple. This robs readers from uncomfortable truths. I am pretty sure that many great business leaders like Elon Musk flaunt multiple of "Do Business leaders turned writers tend to take a more politically correct tone instead of presenting uncomfortable truths. So, I did expect some of it from a former president of Coca-Cola. But, here's where the problem lies: excessive optimism is no solution to pessimism. There lies a fine balance, but perhaps, with good intentions, Don wanted to make it look simple. This robs readers from uncomfortable truths. I am pretty sure that many great business leaders like Elon Musk flaunt multiple of "Donald's commandments of failure". In nutshell, while I am convinced that these surely are commandments for business failure I disagree that all of these rules apply to 100% of cases as Donald insists?

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

    What can we learn more from, failure or success? The truth of the matter is that it 's hard to know what makes a venture or someone successful. It is easier to know why something failed. I came across this book, the ten commandments of business failure by Don Keough, and that got me curious. He reveals how great enterprises get into trouble. “After a lifetime in business, I’ve never been able to develop a set of rules or a step-by-step formula that will guarantee success in anything, much less in What can we learn more from, failure or success? The truth of the matter is that it 's hard to know what makes a venture or someone successful. It is easier to know why something failed. I came across this book, the ten commandments of business failure by Don Keough, and that got me curious. He reveals how great enterprises get into trouble. “After a lifetime in business, I’ve never been able to develop a set of rules or a step-by-step formula that will guarantee success in anything, much less in a field as dynamic and changing as business. What I can do, however, is talk about how to lose. I guarantee that anyone who follows my formula will be a highly successful loser.” Don Keough is a former top executive at Coca-Cola. He has witnessed plenty of failures in his sixty-year career (including New Coke). He has also been friends with some of the most successful people in business history, including Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Jack Welch, Rupert Murdoch, and Peter Drucker. According to an article in Fortune talking about him: "If you could line up all the senior executives of Fortune 500 companies over the years and rate them by power and influence, one guy would stand ahead of most of the CEOs—and outrank every other executive." Here are some takeaways from his ten failure commandments: 1) Stop taking risks. “It’s human nature. I’ve got something. Why risk it? Who knows what’s on the other side of the mountain? Don’t go there!” As our lives get softer and comfortable the temptation to take less risk is stronger, some people are content with the status quo. When things run too good, it is not so good. Oscar Wild said: The world belongs to the discontented. Companies must take risks at critical times. Remember that only 16 of the largest 100 companies of 1930 are still with us. Praise making mistakes. 2) Be inflexible. Warren Buffett recalls the moment 30 years ago when Coca-Cola made one of the worst blunders in marketing history—by replacing flagship Coke with a new formula, calling it New Coke, and resisting a firestorm of consumer anger. Roberto Goizueta was CEO back then, and Keough was his president. "Roberto just didn't want to admit that they were wrong," recalls Buffett about management's standoff vs. the public derision. Keough saved the situation and told the consumers that they were the real boss of the brand. 3) Isolate yourself. Some CEOs make it tough for their employees to speak to them. It is crucial for leaders to talk to workers directly so that they can quickly take steps to solve and face the problems. Churchill had a bad news office. He gave credit to others for bringing the bad news and took all the blame. Surround yourselves with smart people who will argue with you and challenge your views. 4) Be overconfident. Leaders must listen to everyone before taking decisions, and admit their mistakes. “Einstein said he needed in his office: a desk or a table, a chair, some pencils, paper, and a very large ware basket “for all the mistakes I will make.” “ 5) Play close to the border line. When corporate leaders find themselves no longer asking "Is it right?" but "Is it legal?” It is just a short leap to "Can we get away with it? Best to play center field. A reputation takes years to build and 5 min to ruin. 6) Don’t take time to think. Mark Twain said: "it is not the things we know that gets us in trouble but the things we think we know that are not so". We tend to look for confirming evidence, while we should be looking for disconfirming evidence. Best to pause and slow down. Too much data is dangerous because it gives the illusion of rationality. Ask the right questions first. Action is easy, thought is hard. 7) Put all your faith in experts and consultants. Here is a story he tells from his youth that is worth remembering “In my teens, while working during the summer at the city stockyards, I got an offer to become a bull buyer. A bull buyer was supposed to choose appropriate bull for slaughter from the bulls scattered all over the yard. After my first day on the job, someone came by and asked to see what I’d bought. It turned out I’d paid too much for quite a few of the bulls. He reminded me that I was among salesmen and because of my young age, they would try to flatter me, be nice to me, distract me, but he pulled out a chart and said here’s exactly what you are looking for in a bull. No matter what anyone says, never deviate from these basic requirements of conformation. He said, “Watch the bull, not the man. That simple advice has stuck with me through my years in business even to this day”. Don’t let yourself be charmed by man. 8) Love your bureaucracy. “If you want to get nothing done, make sure that administrative concerns take precedence over all others. Love your bureaucracy. Meetings are the religious service of a great bureaucracy and the bureaucrats are fervently religious. These meetings generate more paperwork, more e-mails, more calls, more meetings. In fact, most often there are meetings to plan meetings.” The bureaucracy game is one where the first who does something looses. Bureaucracy annihilates initiative and imagination. Best to stay nimble and simple. Don’t micromanage employees. 9) Send mixed messages. For example, give bonus not matter the performance. 10) Be afraid of the future. The only ones who succeed are natural born optimists; they emulate energies. Bonus: Lose your passion. Passion is everything. I enjoyed his conversation with Charlie Rose here back in 2008 https://charlierose.com/videos/16810

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mender

    2 1/2 stars. Strange that a book with so many praises sung on its front cover ends up with no-one reading and reviewing it. I picked it up in the free library outside work. The commandments in this book are probably true. That said, the part where you have to really believe in your product - and they believed that what they were selling was the 'spirit' of coke rather than an actual drink... I dunno. How much can you believe in an addictive drink that has so much sugar in it it's actively bad fo 2 1/2 stars. Strange that a book with so many praises sung on its front cover ends up with no-one reading and reviewing it. I picked it up in the free library outside work. The commandments in this book are probably true. That said, the part where you have to really believe in your product - and they believed that what they were selling was the 'spirit' of coke rather than an actual drink... I dunno. How much can you believe in an addictive drink that has so much sugar in it it's actively bad for you? It's like getting to read the lawyer from Thank You For Smoking's biography. Glib, but feels a bit off.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Tirath

    It's by Don Keough - - so I assumed there would be some very good insights. And they are great. I liked the negative template - and while a lot of these things seem simple, people regularly fall for these mistakes. Best takeaways: watch the bull, not the man fight bureaucracy with all your might - its one of the greatest dissatisfaction inducers for your people shut the noise - - odds are that certain countries have a lot of progress ahead in store culture can be contagious 2 men looked out of prison It's by Don Keough - - so I assumed there would be some very good insights. And they are great. I liked the negative template - and while a lot of these things seem simple, people regularly fall for these mistakes. Best takeaways: watch the bull, not the man fight bureaucracy with all your might - its one of the greatest dissatisfaction inducers for your people shut the noise - - odds are that certain countries have a lot of progress ahead in store culture can be contagious 2 men looked out of prison bars - one saw mud, the other saw stars The bits on New Coke, Coke's bureaucracy, and continuous need to change stuff within the company - - were great learnings.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sjors

    This slim volume reads like an elaborate speech given by a highly successful business aristocrat - and this is exactly what it is. Sadly, not a lot to learn here for me - although I liked the approach of giving a recipe for business failure, rather than success. The dust jacket made me laugh when I did a double take of it and read that on it were words of praise from the likes of Bill Gates, Jack Welch, Rupert Murdoch, former president GHW Bush, etc etc. Oh and it notes that Warren Buffet wrote This slim volume reads like an elaborate speech given by a highly successful business aristocrat - and this is exactly what it is. Sadly, not a lot to learn here for me - although I liked the approach of giving a recipe for business failure, rather than success. The dust jacket made me laugh when I did a double take of it and read that on it were words of praise from the likes of Bill Gates, Jack Welch, Rupert Murdoch, former president GHW Bush, etc etc. Oh and it notes that Warren Buffet wrote the introduction. This has to be the highest praised slender volume I have yet encountered. Mr. Keough has an enviable set of friends.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Amit Trivedi

    A fantastic book coming from one of the most successful corporate chiefs of one of the most successful companies in the world. The style of writing is amazingly simple. The book is full of lessons that anyone can apply - not just the CXOs, but also anyone in any leadership position. A must read for alll leaders and aspiring leaders.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Vinay Gadia

    Keough talks about multiple attitudes one must possess to be a business winner. He boils down to the capacity to connect with people, seeing the reality for what it is, and being an optimist to take challenges in business.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Harsh Thaker

    Wonderful book on the “modern” Ten Commandments to follow in business, career and life. The author through his own experiences tells on what things to avoid in life to avoid the misery which come with it.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ted Smith

    One of the best books I've ever read.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Nihar Shah

    Very well written and a breezy read. Many will be able to draw parallels with the organizations they know or have worked in.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Timo Uustal

    Easy read, bringing together essential steps to bear in mind when wishing to either fail or succeed and sharing how this worked in Coca Cola Company and elsewhere.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Todd McQueen

    Quick read. Common sense look at business success and personal success.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Tim Joe

    A good and honest book.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Grzegorz

    Who is this book for: entrepreneurs, executives, business managers Contents: Don Keough was a longtime Coca-Cola executive who shares 10 pieces of anti-advice. I found it an interesting way of presenting the topic - he of course says some of the things to do instead of the don'ts but there are no simple prescriptions - there are to be thought about by oneself. The commandments are presented with colorful examples of his experiences at Coca-Cola. The 10 commandments: 1. Quit Taking Risks. 2. Be Inflex Who is this book for: entrepreneurs, executives, business managers Contents: Don Keough was a longtime Coca-Cola executive who shares 10 pieces of anti-advice. I found it an interesting way of presenting the topic - he of course says some of the things to do instead of the don'ts but there are no simple prescriptions - there are to be thought about by oneself. The commandments are presented with colorful examples of his experiences at Coca-Cola. The 10 commandments: 1. Quit Taking Risks. 2. Be Inflexible. 3. Isolate Yourself. 4. Assume Infallibility. 5. Play the Game Close to the Foul Line. 6. Don't Take Time to Think. 7. Put All Your Faith in Experts and Outside Consultants. 8. Love Your Bureaucracy. 9. Send Mixed Messages. 10. Be Afraid of the Future. And bonus commandment: Lose Your Passion for Work - for Life.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Oludayo Victor

    A fountain of management wisdom capture in satire for impact Awesome book penned by one of the management greats. Donald Keough achieved in satire what a thousand self help, best way books won't deliver. Laced with practical insight and experience garnered over 60 years of management and 120 years of coca cola history. Its easy to read, devoid of jargon. Image courtesy Amazon.co.uk Victor's Take On Donald Keough's "10 Commandments For Business Failure"​ Published on August 27, 2019 Author’s photo Vic A fountain of management wisdom capture in satire for impact Awesome book penned by one of the management greats. Donald Keough achieved in satire what a thousand self help, best way books won't deliver. Laced with practical insight and experience garnered over 60 years of management and 120 years of coca cola history. Its easy to read, devoid of jargon. Image courtesy Amazon.co.uk Victor's Take On Donald Keough's "10 Commandments For Business Failure"​ Published on August 27, 2019 Author’s photo Victor Ayoola, MSc, FCCA, CIMA Adv Dip MA Country Education and Learning Manager at ACCA Ten Commandments of Business Failure by Donald R Keough- Former President/CEO Coca-cola Introduction: Growing up in Nigeria, West Africa, there used to be a children’s programme on TV called "Tales by Moonlight" where an Aunt tells some stories from the animal kingdom to illustrate important virtues. It was engaging, sometimes funny but often well acted with actors/actresses dressed in animal costumes. The morale of the stories sank… because they were simple, sensible and sweetened catchy musicals long before America's teen sensation the high school musical became famous. Adults and children often stayed glued to the TV screen. Such is my first impression of Donald R. Keough’s book entitled “Ten Commandments For Business Failure”. Unlike the biblical Ten Commandments which tell you what not to do as”Thou shall not…” Robert says he has had it all from experts dishing out textbook formula for success which does not work consistently for everyone. Rather, the lessons he has learnt from many successes and failures is to let people know things that must be done if they want to fail. He used a smart combination of satire and age old wisdom laced with historical facts on the rise and fall of great companies like IBM and Xerox, sometimes appearing to be vacillating between the devil and the deep blue sea. The book’s credibility is from Donald’s practical commonsense examples which are unmissable. Please move on If you are looking for a book that is deep in psychology or self help with 20,000 research subjects This is not a technically heavy book nor with great academic flair but one with great history and insight garnered over six decades of management experience and combining over 120 years of coca cola and other corporate lessons. It is written by a man who mastered management by walking around and whose outstanding claim to fame is not academic research but getting his hands dirty working with great corporations including Coca Cola. The experience of over 6 decades is distilled in a short volume which is generally easy to read and sometimes compelling. Whereas many reviewers including on GoodRead have criticized the book as being light on depth and substance and less useful than hyped. Perhaps with Warren Buffet writing the foreword and other successful business leaders like Bill Gates, George Bush, Robert Murdoch etc commending it richly many expected a rocket science treatise. I like to take a different stance of maintaining the spirit of the author’s approach in distilling the crucial lessons. The author was clear at the beginning he was not about to give a lecture on how to succeed but to share nuggets of wisdom on avoiding failure. For the want of space and time, I will be focused henceforth. Book Structure and Summary: After a foreword by Warren Buffet which highlights Donald's practical leadership and persuasiveness credentials and the authors own review of his background the book was arranged into the ten commandments and a bonus. Each of these is followed by a summary of the essence of the commandment with an illustration of how that leads to business failure. The book is well structured and moves precept upon precept. I have grouped the commandments in clusters to emphasise similar thoughts in my own words (in bold headings). Environmental Awareness and Relevance #1- Commandment number one- Quit taking risks #2- Commandment number two- Be inflexible #3- Commandment number three- Isolate Yourself! Today’s success is built on risks taken yesterday. When a business stop taking risks it puts its future at risk. Don often goes around asking people what do we need to be worried about that we are not. Related to the reluctance to take risks is outright inflexibility leading to resistance to change. Using the its my way or the highway approach. Coca Cola's resistance to change to its very successful patented bottle in the face of stiff competition from Pepsis which offered double volumes for same price almost cost it dearly. Henry Ford responded late to challenge from other automakers getting stuck in the 1920s T design while America was moving towards bigger cars. This when fully grown leads to fully isolated leaders who often like to be told what they want to hear instead of reality. This played a crucial role in WW2 with Churchill creating a special office for communicating problems whereas Adolf Hitler's Secretary noticed he could not handle any information contr

  22. 5 out of 5

    Gaurav Sangtani

    Today I will discuss with you the latest book I have read, “The Ten Commandments for Business Failure” by “Donald R. Keough“. The book which is written by former president of the Coca Cola Company, recommended by “Bill Gates” and “Jack Welch” and forwarded by “Warren Buffet”, was promising enough to be picked up from the store. To be precise, the book stood to the all these recommendations. Donald Keough has poured his vital experience of Coca Cola years into this book. This is the first manageme Today I will discuss with you the latest book I have read, “The Ten Commandments for Business Failure” by “Donald R. Keough“. The book which is written by former president of the Coca Cola Company, recommended by “Bill Gates” and “Jack Welch” and forwarded by “Warren Buffet”, was promising enough to be picked up from the store. To be precise, the book stood to the all these recommendations. Donald Keough has poured his vital experience of Coca Cola years into this book. This is the first management book I have read which had flow of a fiction book. You hardly feel like putting it down. Small stories bring great wisdom, moreover when these are witnesses by author himself. Keough’s style of writing is compelling enough to convince you about the business wisdon you have already read at many places. As author starts in the introduction: ” When I was asked to talk about how to win, my response was I couldn’t do that. What I could do, however, was to talk about how to lose and I offered a guarantee that anyone who followed my formula would be a highly successful loser.” The book gives you ten (rather eleven) commandments for failure in Business, if you want to be successful, you need to be careful not to follow any of these. Commandments are made of simple business wisdom such as “Quit taking risks“, “Assume infallibility” and “Don’t take time to think” and it also includes some of the new wisdom such as “Put all your faith in Experts” and “Send mixed messages“. Its not the advice which makes the book interesting, rather the way the advice is presented. Small stories, amusing quotes and author’s personal experience make it good and delightful read. The book is humorous, compelling and entertaining enough for atleast one read, although I am going to read it again. I will repeat Jack Welch’s recommendation “A Must read for every leader” and I will further add ” A must read for anyone who aspires to be leader and learn from others mistake rather than making his own”. I would definately recommned it and rate it 4 out of 5. Now I will leave with you some of the parts of the book I liked: “A company doesn’t fail to do anything, Individuals do…… ….Businesses are the product and the extension of the personal characteristics of its leaders – the lengthened shadows of the men and women who run them.” “It’s human nature. I’ve got something. Why risk it? Who knows what’s on the other side of the mountain? Don’t go there!” “Einstein said he needed in his office: a desk or a table, a chair, some pencils, paper, and a very large warebasket “for all the mistakes I will make.” “ “If a company never has a failure, I submit that their management is probably not discontented enough to justify their salaries.” “When you’re comfortable, the temptation to quit taking risks is so great, it’d almost irresistible. And failure is almost inevitable.” “It not only behooves us to treat our fellow human beings with compassion and respect, it is essential for our collective survival. Unethical men and women can flourish for periods, sometimes very long periods, but ultimately their lack of morality – and their lack of humility – destroys them. You cannot build a strong and lasting business on a rotten foundation.” “If you want to get nothing done, make sure that administrative concerns take precedence over all others! Love your bureaucracy!…….Meetings are the religious service of a great bureaucracy and the bureaucrats are fervently religious…….. These meetings generate more paperwork, more e-mails, more calls, more meetings. In fact, most often there are meetings to plan meetings.” “I have never met a successful person who did not express love for what he did and care about it passionately… they can’t imagine doing anything else. They seem almost crazy about it. “ There is lot more I will leave upon you to read finally a story author shares from his life, I liked it. “In my teens, while working during the summer at the city stockyards, I got a offer becoming a bull buyer. A bull buyer was supposed to choose appropriate bull for slaughter from the bulls scattered all over the yard. After my first day on the job, he came by and asked to see what I’d bought. It turned out I’d paid too much for quite a few of the bulls. He reminded me that I was among salesmen and because of my young age, they would try to flatter me, be nice to me, distract me, but he pulled out a chart and said here’s exactly what you are looking for in a bull. No matter what anyone says, never deviate from these basic requirements of conformation. He said, “Watch the bull, not the man”. That simple advice has stuck with me through my years in business even to this day”

  23. 5 out of 5

    Diana Casanova

    Outstanding read for every business leader. And fun to read!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kamilan

    INTRODUCTION #"Take the whole question of leadership, which has been studied to death, always inconclusively." pg. 2 #"In fact, the more you have achieved, the more these commandments apply to you." pg. 9 COMMANDMENT ONE: QUIT TAKING RISKS #"Let's-do-it-like-we-always-did-it-because-that's-the-way-we-always-did-it" culture. pg. 12 #Yet as our lives get softer and richer and more comfortable, the temptation to quit taking risks is so great. pg. 15 #The National Federation of Independent Business Resear INTRODUCTION #"Take the whole question of leadership, which has been studied to death, always inconclusively." pg. 2 #"In fact, the more you have achieved, the more these commandments apply to you." pg. 9 COMMANDMENT ONE: QUIT TAKING RISKS #"Let's-do-it-like-we-always-did-it-because-that's-the-way-we-always-did-it" culture. pg. 12 #Yet as our lives get softer and richer and more comfortable, the temptation to quit taking risks is so great. pg. 15 #The National Federation of Independent Business Research Foundation estimates that after just five years only half of new businesses with employees are still operating, and many of those at a loss. pg. 15 #"Tell me again why everything is so good. Isn't there something more we ought to be worrying about today in order to make sure we have something else to worry about tomorrow?" pg. 16 #The business had to be built on trust. pg. 17 COMMANDMENT FIVE: PLAY THE GAME CLOSE TO THE FOUL LINE #A few corporate leaders found themselves no longer asking "Is it right?" but "Is it legal?" And then from that point, it was just a short leap to "Can we get away with it?" pg. 72. #"I was either a white knight to help lead the company or I was the living embodiment of the famous Peter Principle, promoted beyond my level of competence." pg. 74

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ken

    Common Sense Rules, And Alot Of Corporate History "[email protected]", This book is not difficult, or highly technical. It's nothing of that nature, rather it's some 10 common sense rules that we all should know. This book is aimed at people with large organizations more so than the smaller business man, nevertheless all of the points are applicable in some way or form. But there is one thing I must say, although this book is about commandments of failure, it's also a decent source of c Common Sense Rules, And Alot Of Corporate History "[email protected]", This book is not difficult, or highly technical. It's nothing of that nature, rather it's some 10 common sense rules that we all should know. This book is aimed at people with large organizations more so than the smaller business man, nevertheless all of the points are applicable in some way or form. But there is one thing I must say, although this book is about commandments of failure, it's also a decent source of corporate history. For nearly every commandment, Donald gives an example of some company that was practicing it at some point and also how they solved their problems. And that's something every business man should take on board Verdict: Give this book a read, it won't take you long. I tend to read my books in a cover to cover fashion. and it took me about 3 days to finish. The lessons are clear and fairly concise Physical Quality: The Hardback is strong, the pages turn with ease and aren't to thin. the print of the words are of decent size, not tiny as a dictionary's words. I know books like those can look rather unwelcoming

  26. 5 out of 5

    Viktor Nilsson

    Full of good lessons to learn about business and leadership, but quite disorganized. I feel like a book like this should be made either long and full of detailed studies proving each point, or very short and supported by witty anecdotes. Keough seems to have lost his path, the book definitely ends up being in the anecdote-category, but unfortunately dwells on way too long on most subjects. I would have loved to see it being much shorter - sometimes it feels like he's embarrassed about how little Full of good lessons to learn about business and leadership, but quite disorganized. I feel like a book like this should be made either long and full of detailed studies proving each point, or very short and supported by witty anecdotes. Keough seems to have lost his path, the book definitely ends up being in the anecdote-category, but unfortunately dwells on way too long on most subjects. I would have loved to see it being much shorter - sometimes it feels like he's embarrassed about how little he has written and just has to fill it out some more. Much of this (such as the superiority of USA's gene pool) becomes irrelevant to the topic at hand. Very often it all just slips into lavish praise of how superior USA is. Which might be nice encouragement for any US reader I guess, but won't teach you much. In the end however, I learned some good lessons. The reader could surely come back to the list of contents (chapter names - each of his "commandments") for review many times later on, but might not find its content worth reading more than once.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Supertramp

    #103 Unknowingly I bought this book couple of days after Donald's death. Which, later I realized that I brought this on an offer which was because of his death. The book is all about how to fail successfully. It may sound weird and bizarre but Mr.Donald has written it in a great fashion. He helps a lot to you to fail at any business. I really like the way the he gave the real life incidents and business strategies, especially about the historical facts of Coca-cola. They are very intriguing and i #103 Unknowingly I bought this book couple of days after Donald's death. Which, later I realized that I brought this on an offer which was because of his death. The book is all about how to fail successfully. It may sound weird and bizarre but Mr.Donald has written it in a great fashion. He helps a lot to you to fail at any business. I really like the way the he gave the real life incidents and business strategies, especially about the historical facts of Coca-cola. They are very intriguing and insightful. At most of the parts I do agree with the author. But I didn't like his generalization at some points. Remember , I didn't say they don't exist or they are not facts I just say I didn't like. It's a good book to read nothing more than that. Foreword by Warren Buffet is an additional wisdom!!

  28. 5 out of 5

    AC

    An interesting mix of advice and examples. My only real complaint is that the style was not consistent throughout--on the first few chapters the advice was always about what not to do, then in later chapters it often advises what you should do. After a few chapters of everything he said being the thing to avoid it takes a moment to shift (and then be on your guard throughout the rest of the book) to everything he says being what you should do. But overall there are some good lessons here, backed An interesting mix of advice and examples. My only real complaint is that the style was not consistent throughout--on the first few chapters the advice was always about what not to do, then in later chapters it often advises what you should do. After a few chapters of everything he said being the thing to avoid it takes a moment to shift (and then be on your guard throughout the rest of the book) to everything he says being what you should do. But overall there are some good lessons here, backed up with real world examples and the humility to admit that some of these mistakes are first-hand experiences.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kiki Marriott

    Read it in about an hour. An easy read, but worth thinking about to digest slowly. Rock solid advice for anyone in business, especially in these times of crisis, it gave me a much needed pick-up. The title may sound negative but this man's positivity and passion are clear on every page. Highly recommended.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Chad

    Not into business books, but Don Keough is about to speak at ND. This one is very helpful for dealing with any project/job/endeavor/relationship. The book is conversational and very pithy in tone. Good read.

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